Hamilton food banks in desperate need of baby formula

Two of Hamilton's food banks are out of baby formula.

Two of Hamilton's food banks are out of baby formula.

The Neighbour 2 Neighbour Centre ran out of infant formula Monday morning, said Sara Collyer, operations manager for the Athens street facility.

"We've been low for a while now and were down to our last case last week," she said. The last four cans were snapped up Monday morning leaving the shelves bare of formula, she added. 

The Good Shepherd Centre's warehouse on Mary St. ran out on Friday, said Alan Whittle, director of communications and planning for the Good Shepherd Centre. 

The state of affairs spells trouble for 1,500 families in Hamilton.

"One of our number one demographics is single mothers with children under the age of one years old," said Collyer.

Collyer said that approximately 500 families rely on the centre's supply for baby formula. Whittle said that about 1,000 families rely on the Good Shepherd Centre for infant formula.

One of the reasons why baby formula is in such demand among Hamilton's low income families is because it's so expensive to buy.

Cans of formula can start at $20 and cost as much as $36 for special brands that cater to lactose intolerant babies, said Collyer.

People who come to Neighbour 2 Neighbour looking for formula are directed to other food banks, said Collyer. Alternatively, the centre also tries to relive the pressure within other areas of their food budget, potentially freeing up the money for the much needed formula.

Both food banks are relying on donations to replenish their supplies. Collyer said as little as $2,500 could help them "over the hump," while $5,000 would really set the centre up for the upcoming holiday season.

Those who want to donate can drop formula or cash off at the Neighbour 2 Neighbour centre at 28 Athens St. As well, they can donate online at www.n2ncentre.com. Collyer said the centre will even pick up formula from people who have some to give.

Donations to the Good Shepherd Centre can be made online at www.goodshepherdcentres.ca. People can also drop off formula at the Mary St. Warehouse, "24/7" said Whittle.